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Game Stats: SU vs. SEU (4/30/06)

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TWICE AS NICE (4/30/06)

For the third year in a row, the Bucs entered the LSA Div. B playoffs as the number one seed. For the second year in a row, the Bucs punched their ticket to the National Tournament to be held in the Lone Star State next week.

On Sunday, the Bucs squared off against the St. Edward's Hilltoppers, a team that has vastly improved over last year, and gave the Bucs one of their toughest games of the '06 season in Austin earlier this year. Credit must be given to the Hilltoppers as they are extremely intense and a very talented team, and have a very deserving Coach of the Year. The first game was a nail biter until the end. The Bucs were prepared for anything this time.

Both teams came out with an intensity that was extremely high throughout most of the first quarter. The Bucs drew first blood with a great shot by D-man Alex Gette at the 10:30 mark. St. Ed's answered back on a rebounded save to tie the score at 1 with a little over 4 minutes left in the first. Southwestern made the best of the rest of the time, however, by controlling the clock and getting a great shot by BIG Bryson Wersonske with just 3 seconds left in the quarter. Bryson was unable to play in the first meeting between the two teams and had a huge impact on this one, with 2 goals and 1 assist (and one that was called back because of an alleged crease violation).

As the second started, St. Ed's tied the game up with 11:20 remaining, only to be followed up by Webb's first goal of the day just 15 seconds later to take the lead for good. Southwestern was able to place three more goals in the back of the net with under 5 minutes left in the half to go up 6-2 into half time. Webb added his second of the day, followed by a rebound shot by Senior Jay Gupta, who was able to do the same thing in the first meeting between the two teams. The last goal was by All American defenseman Cole Claiborn, who decided to get his first ever goal on the day of the LSA championships with just over 2 minutes remaining in the half. Two goals, by Bryson and Pritchett, were called back because of crease violations in the second. But it only fueled the team even more.

As the third started, the strength of SU began to show. Our defense was able to shut down the potent St. Ed's attack all through the third, while scoring 2 more to go into the fourth leading 8-2. The Bucs made it 9-2 at the 11 minute mark of the fourth, before St. Ed's scored again. With the final score of 10- 5, Southwestern was able to win its 2nd LSA Div. B Championship in as many years.

The Bucs were able to control most ground balls, run, run, and run some more and keep the ball on the offensive side of the field most of the second half of the game. Derek Sample, injured in the first game against both teams was all over the field between the boxes. At times he was running so fast he almost lost his shorts.All of our face-off men did an excellent job, including Heath Thompson, who has been finding ways to get on the field as of late.

Again, our defense (Cole, Gette, and Nelson)played an amazing game, shutting down St. Ed's leading scorer to no points. Jake played quite possibly the best game in his career, save the finals last year against UTA, and everyone else also rose to the challenge.

As the final horn sounded, the Bucs were able to celebrate at home in front of the largest crowd of the year, and get presented with the first ever LSA Div. B trophy (see pictures of Daniel Ehrlich - aka "Joe Dirt" receiving the trophy).

The road this year has been every bit as hard as last year. The men have practiced countless hours, run too many miles to count (and rode a few on the Southwestern Bikes - don't think I didn't know some of you guys were enjoying rides on the back side of the campus mile), and endured one of the most collectively demanding academic semesters I can remember.

While last year the guys truly overachieved, this year the Bucs, despite the lack of consideration across the nation, are much more prepared. Furthermore, the team is experienced(most of the team went to nationals last year) and much deeper in every position. Playing against San Diego last year was an eye opener for the team as to what the next level is. The Bucs have spent a lot of time trying to produce a better game on the field this year. The results so far have been very promising.

They are excited to get to play any team at nationals and are looking forward to the first round match up against the Montana Grizzlies, a team that has been dominant the past couple of years on a national level in Div. B.

As the guys said after the game, now the work is done. It is now time to have fun playing lacrosse at the highest level against top caliber teams.

We would like to thank all of the parents, students, and the Intramural/Rec Dept. for their unyielding support over this past year. Specifically for allowing us to host the Championships and making it one of the most successful Tournaments ever in our league. The fact we were able to win and do it at home was simply icing on the cake.

With three games against top nationally ranked opponents remaining at Nationals, the Bucs are primed to bring home a win or two. We hope you will continue to follow the team as we head off into the sunset of the season. The best feeling is knowing you have gone as far as you can go. The 2006 Southwestern Bucs have worked hard, and more importantly, earned the right to go as far as collegiate club lacrosse will allow them to go for the second year in a row.

Stay Tuned for updates from Dallas/Plano next week. One thing is for certain. Th 3 hour drive will be much nicer than the 23 and a half hour one that we took last year.

- Bill Bowman

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